Critical Issues With State Testing Essay

Submitted By rsskipworth
Words: 1590
Pages: 7

As schools utilize testing to assess student performance the question comes up whether educators are putting more influences on passing the state test as opposed to following the curriculum. The state test also traps students in the dilemma of choosing between learning for an educational benefit and learning on a short-term basis to pass the test. Teachers are also hindered from doing the best they can do because of pressure placed on them to get students to pass the state test. Administrators and teachers know that they can be disciplined or terminated if student performance is not adequate. Testing in general and “No Child Left Behind” are flawed because right now teachers are educating students in accordance with the test results. Because of today’s technology it would seem that every student is accurately assessed to gauge how the test works but there are situations with students that affect them during the test. These concerns should be addressed too. While discussing this with an elementary school principal, he explains how different environmental issues are looked at. There is an attempt to provide a good atmosphere for the students. From sending messages home to describe the type of sleep a child should get, to the mornings breakfast, and to making sure the testing room is comfortable. The principal discussed how every situation is looked at, but there is no way to monitor what’s going on with a child who is not ready for testing. But things need to go on and that student will have an effect on the overall test numbers and is that really fair. There are many student situations like this, but things go on and test scores are scrutinized. This leads to the emotional effect that administrators and teachers go through in an attempt to get students to do better on the test at all cost.
According to Education News,” The Problem with No Child Left Behind,” states that teachers are faced with more and more challenges as time progresses. The job of the teacher used to be to impart knowledge to the students but know the teacher must be a moral guide to students as well. In addition to all the normal problems a teacher runs in to throughout the year with regards to students there are more and more standardized tests that they have to prepare for. These tests have become the indicators for whether the teacher is a suitable educator as well as whether a student is smart. The tests are also growing in number from SRI, to various MSA’s to ALT MSA. They are getting very specific in the material that is being taught. As stated before there is a dilemma with teachers. Do they teach the students all the knowledge they are supposed to learn in that specific grade or do they teach to the test? Do these standardized tests really prove anything? We don’t have all the answers but ethically some things are in question, like the number of standardized tests taken throughout the year.
One major concern about standardized tests is that when test scores are used to make important decisions, teachers may teach to the test too directly. Although teaching to the test is not a new concern, today’s greater emphasis on teacher accountability can make this practice more likely to occur. Depending on how it is done, teaching to the test can be either productive or counterproductive. There is a great temptation for educators to teach to the test. There is a lot riding on the scores and often there is a lot of outside pressure from the district and the state. Districts need to discourage the temptation of teaching to the test. If teachers are better instructed on these exams and the purposes they serve, students would be better prepared. The inferences you typically draw form these test are general in nature and will be inaccurate if you limit instruction to the actual objectives sampled in the test. It is appropriate to spend some instruction time teaching test-taking skills. Such skills are relatively easy to teach and should take up very little…